Automation Engineer

Emeryville, California (US)
Sep 08, 2021
Required Education
Bachelors Degree
Position Type
Full time

Sound is an innovator of bio-inspired chemistry and plant genetics. We leverage natural plant diversity to grow crops more sustainably and create differentiated, nutritious food. Sound is a Series C startup funded by leading investors in food and agriculture such as S2G Ventures, Fall Line Capital, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, Cavallo Ventures and Syngenta Ventures.

We are looking for an experienced Automation Engineer to join the Molecular Foundry team. This role will interact closely with the Lab Operations Manager, Scientists, and Research Associates to develop and scale DNA extraction and sequencing workflows. We are looking for someone who can generate creative solutions for growing plants in high-throughput along with developing liquid handling protocols to facilitate wet-lab procedures. This is an opportunity to build automation infrastructure from the ground up and work with a rapidly growing , fast-paced, and dynamic company.  The Automation Engineer will report to the Molecular Foundry Manager and will be based in our laboratory in Emeryville, California, working mainly onsite with flexibility to be remote.


  • Identify and bring in new lab automation equipment to scale wet-lab experiments such as: RNA extractions, qPCR setup, NGS, and cell culture workflows
  • Design and build custom hardware to enhance our lab automation capabilities
  • Identify, develop, and validate protocols while working closely with Scientists and Research Associates
  • Work collaboratively with the Data Science team to integrate automation platforms with LIMS.
  • Write structured, testable, readable, and maintainable code
  • Create custom software solutions to facilitate front end interaction with end users
  • Troubleshoot and maintain existing automation equipment
  • Developing and maintaining clear and accurate documentation of automation equipment or processes
  • Training staff after implementation of new processes or equipment
  • Promote a positive and inclusive work environment

Skills & Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Biology or equivalent preferred with 5+ years of work experience
  • A desire to work collaboratively with colleagues of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds.
  • Excellent computer skills particularly in programming and software development.
  • Ability to troubleshoot or debug automation systems
  • Strong communication and presentation skills to explain complex and novel ideas to stakeholders
  • High attention to detail, organizational and time management skills. 
  • Flexible and adaptable in order to stay on top of the latest tools and technologies in the industry
  • Desire to be part of a rapidly evolving organization, which requires flexibility and a willingness to learn new techniques and concepts.

Our Offer 

  • Opportunity to work in an early-stage, disruptive startup with a talented, experienced, and growing team of dedicated individuals
  • Competitive compensation package
  • Performance bonus structure
  • Comprehensive health care plans that include Medical, Dental and Vision coverage
  • Flex Spending Account (Healthcare, Dependent Care & Commuter Benefit)
  • 401k Plan
  • Generous vacation policy
  • Regular team events and engagement activities (we actually like hanging out with each other!)

Sound is based in Emeryville, CA with a number of employees working remotely. We have a mission driven culture and a fast-paced, collaborative work environment. We are looking for someone to join the team who will bring a passion for sustainability along with a deep expertise in the business of food and agriculture.

Equal Employment Opportunity

We seek a diverse pool of applicants and consider all qualified candidates regardless of race, ancestry, color, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, citizenship, disability, Veteran status, marital status, or any other protected status.

Sound participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the United States. If E-Verify cannot confirm that you are authorized to work, Sound is required to give you written instructions and an opportunity to contact the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Social Security Administration (SSA) so you can begin to resolve the issue before Sound takes any action, including terminating your employment.